• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.

Moving from Reef to Octo tank?


Jun 7, 2004
Hi all,

Excellent site guys and great to see a trans-atlantic board!

I've read through the web sit loads, and have been thinking about the idea of having an octopus for a while now.

I have a 5 foot, 60+ gallon tank, with loads of live rock(1lb per gal), overskimmed, with carbon and rowa. I am currently keeping a few SPS corals to give you an idea of the water quality.

I have a couple of questions, before I probably annoy you all even more if I choose to go this way :lol: .

1) It's generally accepted that you should have moderate to good flow when using live rock as a filtration method. I am currently using powerheads to acheive this, and have read that they are also used in octo tanks sometimes - is this true? I would have thought investigating arms would have been trapped??

2) I have metal Halide lighting at the moment - would this be too strong for an octo?

3) The tank has an overflow into a sump (1/4 inch wide at most) (cover this with mesh??). I understand that I will need to add cover glasses (or weighted perspex) to the tank. My inlet cannot be sealed really but there is only maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch gap round this. I could seal this with sillocone though - sound ok??

4) Heater?? UK Temps?

I would be really really greatful if you could suggest a suitable species for the tank too - bearing in mind I am in the UK.

Sorry for the long post - I just want to get things right and see things will work. If not I guess I'm choosing seahorses!! :lol:

Many thanks in advance,

:welcome: to TONMO, Mikey!

1) I don't know if anyone on this sites used just live rock for filtration, you should have something more than that though.

2) It probably would be for all species, most of us just use the standard cheap lights that sometimes come with the tank.

4) Depends on the species, about 20 degrees Celsius for what most of us have (O. bimaculoides)

The best species to have is an Octopus bimaculoides, but you'll be lucky if you can get one. It's difficult to find a good species of octo in the UK. I think in Colins article the most commonly sold one's are O. bocki and O. vulgaris.....

You'll have to get rid of the coral since your ceph may eat them, its happened before..

Good luck! :smile:
Hello Mike!

You could put mesh over the powerhead orifice without diminishing the flow too much; that's likely a good idea, as octopuses sometimes have a fixation with powerheads :goofysca:

Always a good idea to secure the tank as much as possible, since octopuses are very good at squeezing through small spaces. They're limited only by the size of their beak, I read, which is quite tiny for most species.

Have fun with the silicone, if you use it :smile: My friend and I customized a tank for turtles, complete with a decending beach for them; we used loads of silicone. I recommend good ventilation, because his basement reeked of it by the time we were through. :bonk:

Colin can definitely give you information about UK octopuses.

or of course you could go with a cuttlefish in which case the lights should be fine, the corals are safe as long as they arent too agressive in which case the cuttle might get stung and it would do better in your larger tank!! should be plenty of room.

Also though i live in australia i understand that cuttles are quite easy to get a hold of in the uk! lucky guy!!!
Cuttle sounds interesting, but I thought from what I read, my tank was a little on the small side for one. Unless it was a tropical one of course, but again, it the availability in the UK as they don't ship well?

Thanks very much for all your replies so far - it is much appreciated.
well, a 5 foot would probably just suffice for a officianalis as they only grow to around 30cm in captivity but you're right it might be pushing it!! You could always collect eggs and when they start getting too big sell or release them...but i seems a bit pointless...

Then again, collin was telling me he had 7 in a 6 x 2 1/2 x 2 i think it was officianalis...

anyway cuttles might be a good thing to look into - more interesting than seahorses... although they have tempted me in moments of weaknes!! lol

you might want to wait for a post from the experts!!! lol
Thanks for your help everyone.

Hope someone else can chip in too.

I'm really liking the idea of a cuttle now, but octo's still fascinate me. Anyone in UK experienced trying to source either?

Was settle don an octo before i posted :bugout: Arghhh! :lol:
Hi Mikey.. got your PM but I'll reply here :smile:

Closest person to you who helped me get octopuses was Dave Lister at Calico Aquatics in Plumpton so that's only a few miles drive for you... Best bet would be to get him to check with TMC and let you know what species they have in stock. Unfortunetly they are not so good at ID ing them and we have an octopus lottery!!! they also sell tropical cuttles but they tend to be expensive and short lived.

TMC sell Octopus bimaculoides as 'Californian Octopus' so that's what to ask for. They sell 'vulgaris' too but out of about a dozen vulgaris i have bought from them none of them were.. ranging from bocki to aculeatus.... They also sell Floridan octopuses which is briareus or mercatoris... you pays your money you takes your chances :smile:

As for cuttles... i can give you a number for Keith Todd. He and his wife Errin run a company who sell livestock to sea life centres but if you mention me it'll be cool. It depends on what he has in stock...

He also often has Eledone chirrosa but you may need a chiller for that octopus... for sepia officinalis and eledone you'll need at least a five foot tank as they can get big...

hope that helps
Thanks Colin,

I know Dave from Calico, and spoke to him today. They no longer deal with TMC and they cannot obtain any Octo's from their supplier at present. I can order through another LFS here though, so it shouldn't be a problem.

If i could ask for some more info though :smile:

*Is my set up suitable for both octo or cuttle (please see tank specs)?
*Which (if any) would be more suited?
*It was suggested by NICKA5582 that I would need more filtration than live rock/skimmer/carbon - if so, what?
*How does feeding regime and availability of suitable food compare?
*Room temperature inn my UK location may still hit 24 degree C summer - how and at what temp do you keep yours?
*Are you still able to provide a food service?

I would be grateful if I could get your cuttle contact details please Colin and I'll have a think?

Thank you all very much for your help, and in advance for anymore information.


Shop Amazon

Shop Amazon
Shop Amazon; support TONMO!
Shop Amazon
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.